Thank you Steve Jobs

Thank you Steve for killing Flash. I know you told everyone it was about support. I think I know the truth though. A truth you never publicly admitted. I don’t imagine you’ll let me know if I was right. But I know that there are plenty who agree with me.

It wasn’t the software was it? It wasn’t the bugs in flash, it wasn’t the security holes, or the power consumption. Those were all just the lip service being paid to hide the true reason: you were afraid of flash.

Flash allowed a web page to do everything that Apple was trying to control: stream movies and music, and provide a tight user experience. You didn’t want that to happen. If those things were able to be provided by a website running flash, then Apple wouldn’t get its 30% cut.

Here’s the crazy part though: by killing off flash, you created an even stronger competitor: the web. Before the death of flash, the web was always a secondhand user experience. It was clunky. Very few people were doing things with HTML user experiences that were truly amazing. But when flash died, it’s almost like the entire industry started focusing on making HTML a better development platform. And focus they did.

HTML5, CSS3, ECMAScript 6, Canvas, SVG, responsive design, media elements. All of these together have made the web an amazing place to go. No app to download, no questionable permissions to agree to (well, except for location).

The thing is, native has always provided a better experience, but there are just so many times that a well designed mobile site is better. If you would have gotten what you wanted Steve, for everyone to have an iPhone, and the internet to simply be a way that data for IOS apps is transmitted, we would have been much worse off. So many companies can build a web app once, for desktop and mobile, forget about an IOS or Android app, and spend the resources they WOULD have had to spend on IOS, instead making their core product better.

We DO need native apps for lots of stuff. And you were an amazing visionary, showing companies that high quality could still be mass market and profitable. And we’re all better for it.

And when you killed flash, you made the world a better place too. Just not for the reasons you were intending.

5 responses

  1. I don’t think the reasons you mention were the real ones. Flash user experience was far from tight, I personally hated it.

    He did not only mention the bugs, security, energy and performance issues, he said Flash time had passed. The age of the stylus (mouse) was ending, as mobile devices interfaces were going finger driven, for which Flash was not–is not–prepared. He also said it was time to embrace the web when he wrote, and I quote, “rather than use Flash, Apple has adopted HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.” He also referred to the “full web”, and challenged Flash dominance on videos, by saying that “video is also available in a more modern format, H.264”, which is what the iDevices use.

    No, I think Flash time was coming, Steve just speed it up. If the result was an even better web, yes, Steve has lots to do with it. Ever since his famous “Thoughts on Flash” I have been Flash free, and have not missed anything at all.

    Cheers!

  2. I have thought of the same thing. I guess Steve’s will shows too today in how IOS Safari won’t support WebGL unlike WP8.1’s IE and most Android browsers, crippling graphically more demanding HTML5 games. So you need to publish them in App Store.

  3. I never coded in Flash, but I did in Silverlight.
    The tooling and the language is far superior than the web stack.
    I just wished there was something better than HTML\CSS.

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